Digitalization lures more taxpayers, efficiency—Diokno
By Chino S. Leyco
The government’s two main tax agencies’ transition to digital payment systems has increased the number of taxpayers and improved their tax administration efficiency, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the digitalization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) saw a five percent increase in taxpayers and an 84 percent jump in electronic payments in 2021.
Diokno also said revenue collections expanded by 5.2 percent year-on-year and even went beyond the government’s target by over four percent.
“The digitalization of tax administration is a priority goal of the Philippine government. The operationalization of the initiatives couldn’t have come at a better time,” Diokno said in his intervention during the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok.
Digitalization has resulted in the steady inflow of revenues that gave the government the fiscal space it needed to orchestrate Covid-19 response programs, Diokno said.
“The pandemic presented an opportunity for the Philippines to quicken improvements to revenue agencies’ online filing and payment systems, which helped maintain and even improve tax collections amid the crisis,” Diokno said.
The digitalization of the BIR and Customs operations have made it possible for efficient tax administration through electronic means, the finance chief added.
Currently, the Marcos administration is seeing sustained positive developments in its latest collection report.
At end-August 2022, tax collections grew by 18 percent compared with the same period in 2021, which is also seven percent higher than the target.
“The increase has caused the government’s primary deficit for the period to drop by more than 26 percent year-on-year,” Diokno said.
In Bangkok, the gathering of finance ministers explored areas in fiscal policies, taxation regimes, redistribution programs, investment incentives, digital leverage, and sustainable development that would promote digitalization and sustainability as drivers for economic growth.
The sessions highlighted sustainable finance and digitalization as key drivers of growth in a globalized environment.
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